The festival is also a money-maker. Last year it attracted an estimated 574,000 people and up to millions of dollars in spending for the city, said Marci Schramm, executive director of the parent group French Quarter Festivals Inc.
"We take a massive, massive scale event, and we put it down in one of the most historic neighborhoods in the country, so the backdrop is just fantastic," she said.
"Restaurants are busy, hotels are busy, business is busy, so there's a lot of excitement not only in the Quarter but in the city," said Cajun chef John Folse.
Schramm said as much attention goes into food at the festival as the music. Only sit-down restaurants are permitted to serve food at the festival, and French Quarter restaurants are given priority, including Muriel's, Galatoire's and Antoine's.
"We call it fine dining in a festival environment," Schramm said.
Folse's Restaurant R'evolution, which opened recently in the French Quarter, will be among more than 60 restaurants serving up fare this year.
The festival is the last big local music event before the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival opens for its two-weekend run on April 26.